CUNY Pulls $3M No-Bid Covid Contract with Consulting Firm After Heavy Backlash

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“I move to table the resolution [to approve the McKinsey contract],” CUNY board chairman Bill Thompson said during the governing trustees specially scheduled meeting. Photo Credit: tv.cuny.edu

By: Barry Horowitz

CUNY, after facing heavy backlash, pulled a $3 million no-bid contract with powerhouse consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to help campuses with their fall re-openings.

The NY Post reported, the colleges had already submitted their proposals, critics said Sunday.

NY Post: the proposed business agreement, which involves about two months of work, is unnecessary, they said.

“Speaking of things that make you go hmmm — $3 million for two months of high-priced consultants on a plan for which there are already enough highly paid CUNY officials, while students continue to suffer from a shortage of full-time professional faculty,” said state Sen.John Liu (D-Queens), the former city comptroller who chairs the senate’s panel on New York City education.

The contract was set to go to consulting powerhouse, McKinsey & Co which Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration also in April 2020 hired to address issues leading up to the state’s eventual reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The consulting firm worked with state Department of Health officials on a controversial report on COVID nursing-home deaths that was later rewritten by Cuomo’s aides to hide the number of fatalities, as reported by the NY Times.

“I move to table the resolution [to approve the McKinsey contract],” CUNY board chairman Bill Thompson said during the governing trustees specially scheduled meeting.

John Jay College Professor Elizabeth Hovey previously sent an e-mail blast to CUNY officials under the subject heading, “Don’t Spend $3Mill on McKinsey – use CUNY expertise and value Students.”

“I have learned that you are planning to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on advice that you did not develop with all the loyal expertise of CUNY experts on health and security you could draw on. How dare you?” she said in the e-mail obtained by The Post.

The NY Post pointed to an anonymous source who heavily scrutinized the contract.

“Where is this coming from? Why does CUNY need to hire an outside firm to do this work?” the source said. “Isn’t that what the administration on the campuses and the central administration is supposed to do — plan for the reopening? This is great work if you can get it!”

CUNY spokesman Frank Sobrino said of the proposed consulting contract, “McKinsey will contribute extensive logistics expertise and experience to the task of safely re-opening our campuses to in-person instruction this fall.”